Maintenance overhaul goes to Governor DeSantis

TALLAHASSEE – After three previous attempts ended in vetoes, the Florida House on Tuesday gave final approval to a bill that would overhaul Florida’s child support laws.

The House voted 102-12 to pass the measure (SB 1416), which the Florida Senate approved last month. It now goes to Governor Ron DeSantis.

The bill would partially eliminate so-called permanent alimony and create a marriage-length-based alimony formula.

Among other things, it would allow alimony payers to request changes if “a supportive relationship exists or has existed” involving their ex-spouses in the previous year.

DeSantis vetoed a child support bill last year, and former Gov. Rick Scott vetoed two child support measures. But after years of battling the issue, the Florida Bar Association’s Family Law Division and supporters of the system’s overhaul have signed off on this year’s version.

As the bill progressed steadily through the legislature, it drew criticism from members of the First Wives Advocacy group, which is made up mostly of older women who rely on ongoing child support. But Senate sponsor Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, has said the measure would not unconstitutionally affect existing child support rules, a concern DeSantis expressed when he vetoed last year’s bill.

CBS Miami team

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